Finding out that your loved one suffered from malnutrition due to neglect in the nursing home is devastating and infuriating.
Nursing home neglect is illegal, and you do not have to accept that this happened to your loved one. If you witnessed your relative suffer needlessly and are looking for justice, a San Antonio malnutrition lawyer from our firm might be able to help you. We could potentially help you hold a nursing home to account for neglect.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm now for a free review of your case at (800) 842-6336.
Signs of Malnutrition
In order to spot the first signs of malnutrition, you will need to be vigilant and observe your loved one closely when you visit them. Are they in good overall condition, or do they appear to have lost a considerable amount of weight in a short time?
While the most visible symptom of malnutrition is rapid and unintended weight loss, there can be other signs pointing to inadequate nourishment of your loved one, such as:
- Feeling tired all the time
- Suffering from frequent infections and illnesses
- Muscle weakness
- Lack of energy
- Slow wound healing
- Dry skin
- Sadness and depression
Your loved one in the nursing home should have their basic needs met, and this includes adequate nutrition and hydration. When a nursing home cannot ensure that a resident’s daily needs are met fully, they are potentially liable for neglect.
Nursing homes are typically for-profit organizations. As such, it can be tempting for nursing home management to cut corners in an attempt to seek out profit wherever possible. Any such cost-cutting is detrimental to the residents.
It is possible, in all but those with complicated medical issues, to solve malnutrition issues with fairly simple measures. Simply assisting a nursing home patient with their daily meals can solve any malnutrition issues. In fact, having a sufficient amount of staff at the nursing home could be the only remedy needed in many cases. Staff can assist and monitor residents, making sure they receive and eat all their meals.
However, when a nursing home lacks adequate staff, residents may not receive assistance with basic needs such as eating and drinking. If your loved one suffered from malnutrition due to nursing home negligence, you can hire a San Antonio malnutrition lawyer to get clear on your next best steps and ways to recover compensation.
Causes of Malnutrition
While malnutrition can be a sign of nursing home neglect, there are several physical impairments that can cause seniors to suffer from malnutrition and malabsorption of nutrients, including:
People with dysphagia have problems swallowing food or liquids. Signs of dysphagia can include pain when swallowing, not being able to swallow at all, and coughing or choking when trying to eat. In some cases, people with dysphagia will bring food back up due to their inability to swallow.
Loss of Taste
Some elderly nursing home residents lose the ability to taste or smell food, which can suppress their appetite and lead to reduced food intake, potentially causing malnourishment.
Dental health and malnutrition are inextricably linked. Tooth decay, missing teeth, ill-fitting dentures, and pain when chewing can all contribute to malnourishment. Malnutrition, in turn, can affect oral health detrimentally, causing gum disease and other dental problems.
Medical conditions, such as cancer and infections, can lead to malnutrition due to lack of appetite, as well as malabsorption of nutrients. Some medications can also cause malnutrition.
Dementia sufferers can be at risk of malnutrition as people with cognitive decline can have several swallowing and eating problems. Those with dementia may also forget to eat and drink and require regular encouragement by nursing home staff.
However, rather than point to any pre-existing conditions for reasons of malnutrition, nursing home staff should pay particular attention to those residents who suffer from ailments that could cause malnutrition issues.
A nursing home is mandated, by law, to offer individualized care to residents. According to the Nursing Home Reform Act, each resident has the right to an individualized care plan that meets their specific needs. The act further prescribes that meals must “meet the daily nutritional and special dietary needs of each resident.”
If the nursing home neglected the individual nutritional needs of your loved one, leading to malnutrition, the nursing home could potentially be held liable, and you may have legal recourse.
Your loved one has legal rights and depends on you to defend their best interests. Your San Antonio malnutrition lawyer can help you find out which steps you can take to hold a nursing home to account for their failures.
For a free legal consultation with a Malnutrition Lawyer serving San Antonio, call (800) 794-0444
The Consequences of Malnutrition
Malnutrition is no triviality. In fact, prolonged malnutrition or failure to provide food rich in vitamins and minerals can cause severe medical problems and, in the worst cases, lead to fatalities. Some of the consequences of malnutrition can be:
- Tooth decay
- Low blood pressure
- Eye problems
In elderly and frail nursing home residents, malnutrition is extremely serious and can cause increased mortality.
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Your loved one deserves nursing home care with dignity and respect. The least you should expect from a nursing home is catering to their residents’ basic needs, such as nutrition and hydration.
Nursing home neglect is immoral, egregious, and illegal. If your relative suffered from malnutrition, you most likely have legal recourse against a nursing home. We could help you file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit and build a case against the nursing home. You could potentially recover various types of compensation, such as medical expenses and awards for pain and suffering, among others.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for help with your claim at (800) 842-6336.